Monday, March 28, 2016

Sergey Karjakin qualifies to challenge for the world chess title

While the geeks were watching a rerun of the election night coverage from 1966, I outgeeked them by watching the final round of the Candidates chess tournament in Moscow.

The tournament was held to find who would challenge the world champion Magnus Carlsen for his title in a match in New York this November.

In today's final round the leaders were playing one another: Sergey Karjakin had white against Fabiano Caruana.

A draw would give Karjakin victory in the tournament, but Caruana needed a win. (By a quirk of the tie-break system that situation could have been reversed if Vishy Anand had won his game, but that never looked likely and he agreed an early draw.)

Caruana obtained an active, unbalance position without taking on too much risk. I got the impression he was drifting slightly when he got to move 35 or so, but there still seemed all to play for.

Then Karjakin played a devastating rook sacrifice that the grandmasters commentating on the game had not anticipated.

A tremendous achievement in such a tense game, though most people believe that Carlsen will retain his title when they meet.

You can play through the game on chess,com.

Karjakin played his sacrifice in the position above: the devastating 37. Rxd5.

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